There has been a lot made in the media lately about President Trump’s campaign adviser, Paul Manafort. While investigations look into his involvement as a possible actor in the 2016 election influence campaign by Russia, it now appears as though his involvement may go even deeper.
Yesterday evening, IR.net was made aware of a complaint that has been filed by Massachusetts Attorney, J. Whitfield Larrabee against Republican U.S. Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (48th Congressional District of California) and Ed Royce (39th Congressional District of California) as well as Republican U.S. Senator James Risch of Idaho, in relation to contributions which appear to have been made through Paul Manafort and other lobbyists who were illegally acting as intermediaries for foreign entities — more specifically the Ukraine Party of Regions (a Vladimir Putin ally) and the European Centre For a Modern Ukraine (also a Putin ally).
“In the course of pursuing litigation against Paul Manafort in Connecticut to revoke his law license, I determined that Rohrabacher, Royce and Risch illegally received payments from the Ukraine Party of Regions and the European Centre For a Modern Ukraine,” Attorney, J. Whitfield Larrabee tells IR.net. “The Federal Election Campaign Act prohibits foreign nationals from making campaign contributions to candidates for federal office. It also prohibits contributions made by one person in the name of another. Paul Manafort, Vin Weber, Ed Kutler and other lobbyists illegally acted as intermediaries for the foreign entities in making the contributions. After the lobbyists made donations, they were reimbursed by the Party of Regions and the European Centre For a Modern Ukraine. The pattern of conduct indicates that the payments originated with foreign nationals and were made by means of a straw donor scheme.”
Larrabee has filed a formal complaint with the House Office of Congressional Ethics. He has also sent a formal letter to the Department of Justice, specifically directed at Robert Mueller, Special Counsel, and suggests that other Senators, Representatives, lobbyists, foreign agents and foreign nationals also likely participated in the criminal scheme, often referred to as a straw donor scheme.
Larrabee suggests that Rohrabacher and Royce committed criminal violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act, 52 U.S.C. § 30121 and § 30122, by knowingly receiving and accepting illegal campaign contributions made by foreign nations, and knowingly accepting contributions made by one person in the name of another person as part of a straw donor scheme.
The fact that this scheme may go even deeper than those mentioned here, could conceivable cause huge disruptions not only for the Republican party but for the entire House and Senate should this move past a formal complaint. What is even more disturbing is the fact that these contributions apparently came from pro-Putin groups, groups which appear to be trying to recruit influence over more individuals within the Republican party. All three of these individuals mentioned have shown to be avid Donald Trump supporters since his campaign began.
Senator Risch has been a huge defender of Trump, taking aim at leakers recently. He also happens to be on the Senate Intelligence Committee, the same committee that is currently investigating Trump’s possible collusion with Russia. Could these allegations help explain why so many Republican Senators and Congressmen have continued to support Trump through the entire Russian election meddling investigation? Could more of these politicians be involved in Russian collusion as well?
The letter that Larrabee sent to the Department of Justice can be found below:
Enclosed please find a complaint against Representative Dana Rohrabacher and Representative Edward Royce filed today with the House of Representatives Office of Congressional Ethics. I request that the Department of Justice investigate the complaint as it concerns a scheme to illegally contribute funds from foreign nationals to candidates for federal office. The complaint also describes an illegal straw donor scheme. One of the lobbyists who participated in the scheme, Paul J. Manafort, Jr., is reportedly under investigation by the office of Special Counsel. Since there are potential links to the Russia investigation, I have requested the Special Counsel to investigate the matter. The complaint concerns illegal activities of lobbyists and unregistered foreign agents in Washington, D.C. that are likely within the purview of U. S. Attorney Phillips. Finally the complaint concerns criminal activity by elected officials and therefore may fall within the purview of the Public Integrity Section.
Although the complaint describes the illegal acceptance of contributions by Members of the House of Representatives, the criminal scheme extended to the United States Senate. Jim Risch is an Idaho Senator who served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2013. Three lobbyists from Mercury Public Affairs met with Senator Risch on November 13, 2013. The lobbyists were John Vincent Weber, Edward Kutler and Michael McSherry. The purpose of the meeting was to lobby on behalf of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (“ECFMU”) a foreign national. These facts were disclosed in Mercury’s registration statement under the Foreign Agents Registration Act that it recently filed. On December 4, 2013, according to Mercury’s statement and Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) records, Weber, Kutler and McSherry each contributed $1,000 to the Jim Risch for U. S. Senate Committee. Mercury was reimbursed for the lobbyists’ contributions between March 31, 2014 and April 7, 2014, when the ECFMU paid Mercury over $218,000 in fees and “reimbursement.” Risch accepted the contributions, knowing that they were paid through a straw, and that the funds came from the ECFMU, or other foreign nationals of Ukrainian or Russian origin who where laundering money though the ECFMU. 52 U.S.C. § 30121 prohibits the giving and receiving of contributions from foreign nationals. 52 U.S.C. § 30122 prohibits the giving and receiving of contributions made by one person in the name of another. By receiving and accepting the contributions, Risch knowingly and willfully violated 52 U.S.C. §§ 30121 and 30122.
It is likely that other Senators, Representatives, lobbyists, foreign agents and foreign nationals also participated in this expansive criminal scheme.
As the five year statute of limitations for filing criminal charges against many of the individuals participating in the scheme may pass shortly, I respectfully request that the Department of Justice conduct an expedited investigation of the activities described in the complaint and in this letter.
Thank you for your time and consideration of these matters.
Below you will find a screenshot showing part of the formal complaint showing payments received by the Royce Campaign.
Stay tuned, as further information on this will be reported by IR.net as we hear more.